Most parents find themselves wishing they could avoid back-to-school expenses. Not everyone are rich enough to buy gold bars anyway, let alone all the required supplies some schools impose on. But there are some ways that can cut costs, big or small.
1) If investing in new uniforms, get a size or two bigger and just get a good seamstress to adjust them for you. Then, you can also just have them re-adjusted to accommodate growth spurts in the coming months or years.
2) Save the crayons. If some have been broken, that's ok. You can use a cheap cookie sheet or microwave-proof mold and just melt crayons of the same color (or maybe even create your own shades) to turn them into coloring blocks.
3) Go over old notebooks and get all the clean pages and bind them. Either they could serve as a new notebook or a scratch pad.
4) Plan a weekley menu of healthy snacks and lunches so you can include them in your weekly grocery shopping. Skip the junk and processed food that may seem cheap to you but ultimately doesn't provide real nourishment to your child... some may even aggravate cavities. Good meals mean better health, and medical expenses are something parents sometimes forget in their menu planning and budgeting.
5) Insist on healthy breakfasts... so your child will also avoid snacking all day. It doesn't need to be really heavy, some slices of sweet potato or a hard-boiled egg are healthy enough without requiring a long eating time.
6) Use freebie canvas bags as lunch boxes instead of buying one.
7) Make it a habit for your child to clean their shoes and bags at regular times to prolong their serviceability.
9) Walk to school if it's only ten or so minutes away. The activity is also great for better health.
10) Avoid buying themed school supplies... because your child might insist they NEED the extra bag, strap, etc of the same theme. It's a lot cheaper if your child CAN use generic products instead of having to have a Dora umbrella to go with her Dora backpack.
11) Buy products in bulk if you know you'd need them all the time. For examle, parents will be wise to invest in a ream of bond paper since their child is sure to be submitting reports all throughout high school. Make sure they are used properly though, and not wasted.
12) Buy quality for regularly-used items, like bags or shoes. Having to buy another pair mid-year is an additional cost you don't want sprung on you.
A penny (in our case, peso) saved here and there may amount to extra money for extra food, transport fare or other project materials. Plus, it will teach your child that your pool of resources isn't limitless and should be therefore respected and managed.